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Full text of "NightRider"

321

mealy and insipid, can stir the appetite as though in the dark-
ness of the storage cellar they had managed to keep and
augment the ripe, full, winy richness of the last sunshine of
the summer.

Doctor MacDonald had married her, and the marriage
which had at first seemed to Mr. Munn an incongruity began
to seem natural and clear. When Doctor MacDonald would
talk, his eyes would wander to fix on Cordelia, or on the door
through which she had left the room. And sometimes,
though rarely, the coolness of her gravity, her reticences,
would fall away, and as she looked at Doctor MacDonald, as
that morning on the porch before breakfast, she would, for an
instant and in a single glance, be exposed in her secret
warmth and fullness and steadfastness. When Mr, Munn
detected such a look, he would, as that morning on the porch,
feel it as a blow, and would turn away. The impact, the stab,
of that look was not the pain of a recollected loss. No, it
was pain at something which he had never had. He felt
cheated, and impotent, and was filled with envy of the man,
to whom, apparently, it had come so easily.

But though Mr. Munn would turn away from that tran-
sitory look on her face, he had quickly learned to search for
it, to spy on her and wait for it. It was rare and fleeting, but
he knew that it would come, sooner or later. He visited the
Ball place when he could get time. The demands on him at
his own farm were at their slackest now, and since the house
had burned, there was no place for him to sleep there except
in the gear room, where he had rigged up a cot and an old
washstand. Besides, he could no longer put his heart into
the work there. It was not the discomfort of the draughty,
unceilinged gear room and the hard cot, or the sight of the
blackened ruins of the brickwork, that distressed him. The
very fields, the slow voices of the negroes talking to him about
the plant beds or the stock or the fencing, their silences,
reproached him and withdrew from him. When he was
there he felt that his life had no direction and his efforts no
meaning. He began to think that he might sell the place if